As believers, we all know we are special creations, unique and precious to God. Yet why do we struggle with comparing our lives, our bodies, our kids, and our talents (or lack of talents) with others? In reality, we need to look past who we “dream” to be and consider God’s dreams instead.
In God’s word, we read: “God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks: ‘Exactly as I planned, it will happen. Following my blueprints, it will take shape,” says Isaiah 14:24 (The Message).
The word “planned” here is translated as “compare.” [i] It’s as if God has weighed the different possibilities, looked at them from all angles, and then chose the best way. He makes the blueprints . . . then He constructs them into our reality.
This is the life the Lord has constructed for us. Not the life, body, health, or circumstances we wished we’d had. Or the perfect life we can never attain. But the blueprints and the form He is forming into reality.
“Remember your history, your long and rich history. I am God, the only God you’ve had or ever will have—from the beginning telling you what the ending will be, all along letting you in on what is going to happen, amazing you,” we read in Isaiah 46:10-11. “I’m in this for the long haul, I’ll do exactly what I set out to do.” (The Message)
It’s okay to have longings.
But even before we worry about what we desire for our lives, the first step is to not let our dreams motivate us, but instead let His.
God has longings for us even greater than we imagine, and He’s willing to tell us these things as we seek Him out.
All of us have a problem with comparing. How do we deal with it? (Revised from Tricia’s book Generation NeXt Parenting.)
1. Discover your passion . . . and be okay with it.
“Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well,” says Galatians 6:4, “and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct” (NLT).
As long as I can stand before my Maker and see pleasure in His eyes, why do I wonder about what others think . . . or worry I don’t measure up? When I seek God, do what He asks, find joy where my passion lies, and feel His pleasure, then comparisons won’t matter.
2. Cultivate a Quiet, Happy Heart.
“God, I’m not trying to rule the roost, I don’t want to be king of the mountain. I haven’t meddled where I have no business or fantasized grandiose plans,” says Psalm 131:1-2. “I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content.” (The Message)
God’s arms are open to us, and He wants nothing more than for us to be content there. We don’t need to be king of the mountain, queen of the slim and beautiful, prince of the popular, or princess of grandiose plans. Through prayer and focus on God, our quiet hearts will remind us He is enough.
3. Conform to Christ.
“Conforming to the image of God is a long and steady process of internal change as we abide in Christ. People simply do not change overnight, nor can they be forced to do so,” write Neil Anderson and Robert Saucy, authors of The Common Made Holy. “Abiding in Christ is being yoked to the gentle Jesus (Matthew 11:29).” [ii][ii]
If we are connected with Jesus, have a quiet heart, and focused on our passions … what is there to compare? God has us just where He wants us … in His hands.
What can be better than that?
Want to learn more about soul care and having a Happy Heart? Heart Happy: Staying Centered in God’s Love through Chaotic Circumstances will inspire you to stay tethered to the Lover of your soul. By taking time to make your heart happy in the Lord, you’ll grow closer to the Heavenly Father, fostering true transformation from the inside out. Peace and joy can be yours—no matter what life dishes up.
Have you ever wondered what can be gained by cheering each other on? On this episode of The Tricia Goyer Show, I chat about my book with Todd and Brooke Tilghman (Every Little Win), and how we can all use our gifts and talents to support each other. From homeschooling parent to homeschooling parent, I reached out to the Tilghmans and helped them by writing their book. But all throughout my life, I’ve benefited greatly by not comparing myself to others (I have a GREAT story about when I did, though). We can each use our gifts and talents to support each other! You’ll want to be sure to listen to the end of the episode because there is a fun surprise waiting! I know you are going to enjoy this episode.
Connie Arnold says
Thank you for sharing this wonderful post, Tricia (and mentioning it on Twitter)! It is obvious from what you write that you are where God wants you. This is so comforting and encouraging! Some of what you say is also what I attempt to convey through my poetry. I’m very thankful God uses my love for Him and passion for poetry in this special way. There is no better place to be than in God’s hands!
Christa M. Miller says
Thanks for this, Tricia. I do a pretty good job accepting myself as God made me… except for one significant area: I constantly struggle with being an extremely introverted work-at-home mom!
I often wish I had the energy to write AND be 100% present for my kids (as it seems so many of my peers are) but while I love my kids, my passion is my writing. It sometimes does not seem “enough” to attend to their needs for food, drink, and snuggles when it feels like I’m simply indulging myself!
Yet as I’ve written here before, I know God wants me to be doing this work. I may need to bookmark this blog entry! LOL
Tricia Goyer says
Christa, The cool this is that God placed those things on your heart, and I bet He didn’t do it just to frustrate you. He has a purpose!
I can guarantee you do more than just meet your kids’ basic needs. I also guarantee that your peers don’t have their acts together as much as they seem to. So let me just encourage you … you are not just indulging yourself. You are being obedient to God!! Yeah for you! Also, know that your kids will benefit from your obedience. You are giving them a model to follow, after all … don’t you want your kids to learn to follow their dreams, too?! You go girl!